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Sunday, October 09, 2016

State v. June Gorthy (A-51-14;

State v. June Gorthy (A-51-14; 075009)
          When a criminal defendant is found competent to stand
          trial under N.J.S.A. 2C:4-4, he or she has the
          autonomy to make strategic decisions at trial, with
          the advice of counsel, including whether to assert the
          insanity defense.  Based on the trial court’s finding
          that defendant was competent to stand trial, and the
          detailed explanation that it gave defendant of the
          potential benefits and risks of the insanity defense,
          the court should have permitted her to decide whether
          to assert the defense, rather than invoking it on her
          behalf.  We reverse the trial court’s judgment of
          acquittal by reason of insanity on the stalking
          charge, and remand for a new competency determination
          and, if appropriate, a new trial on this charge.  We
          affirm defendant’s conviction on the weapons charges.